Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Battlefield

I just got back from Bible study, and I have to post right away because there are so many enlightening thoughts going through my mind! First of all, I just want to say that if you ever have the opportunity to join a women's Bible study, please don't pass it up! It has been so amazing. Tonight we laughed a lot and cried a lot, and just bonded as sisters in Christ. It was great!

As I've mentioned before, we are studying Joyce Meyer's "The Battlefield of the Mind" book. Tonight we discussed the book, and watched a clip of Joyce preaching. She is just such an amazing woman. I can really tell that God speaks directly through her. During the video, she talked a lot about how we, as women, let pity take over so much of our lives. Wallowing in our self-pity is somehow gratifying to a lot of us. Without realizing it, sometimes we want to just stay in that pity. I know I'm guilty of that a lot of the time! Joyce explained that pity is not of God...it comes from the devil. Because Satan knows that if we open the door to pity, we are basically opening the door to him to wreak havoc in our hearts, minds, and lives.

Wow. That hit me like a slap in the face. I am so guilty of wallowing in that emotion and just camping out there. I'm guilty of it with my job, and especially with Luke when I feel like he's not home enough or not paying enough attention to me. I'm guilty of it when I'm having a bad day or when things just plain aren't going my way.

Joyce says that we need to do something productive during those times. We need to speak out scriptures, because you're mind can't focus on one thing while your mouth says something totally different. We need to take the focus off of ourselves and see who we can help. And most importantly, we need to praise God for everything! That's one sure way to get our minds to focus on the good instead of the bad.

Tomorrow I challenge you to join me as I "stop thinking and thank." Joyce encourages us to thank God for every little blessing he gives us during our day: "Thank you that I got a good night's sleep," "Thank you that my refrigerator is full," "Thank you that I have a car to drive me to work," "Thank you that I got to work safely,"...You get the idea :-) I really think that by thinking these positive thoughts, we will change our actions, and our outlook.

I'm so glad for my change in perspective :-) And I can't wait until next Wednesday!!
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And just for fun before I go, here is a sneak peak of what I will be doing Saturday:
I have officially transformed this drawer into my cookie-decorating drawer. Luke made fun of me for spending $30 of my splurge money on all of this, but I just told him to leave me alone because this is my hobby. Kind of like PS3 is HIS hobby :-P I seriously can't wait until I can spend all day Saturday decorating! I think I'm going to bake all the cookies tomorrow or Friday if I can, just so all day can be dedicated to decorating on Saturday. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One of Those Days

This week has been freezing and rainy so far. The freezing part doesn't bother me, because I've enjoyed breaking out some sweaters and hoodies. But the rainy part has been a drag.

This morning started out a little dreary because of the weather. And then at 9:35 - 10:55 my patience was really tested. During that time, I had to work with a fourth grader who also must have been having a very bad day. He was being so defiant and not listening at all. It got to the point where I was about to rip my own hair out from sheer frustration.

I texted Luke to warn him that #1 - I was about to kill a student (I kid, I kid...)so #2 - He should be extra nice to me tonight.

Luke promptly texted me back letting me know that #1 - He had to work in duck poop all day so #2 - I should be extra nice to HIM tonight. You just never know what the day might bring when you're a parks and recreation worker!

Luke then suggested that since we both had such crappy days, we should just take it easy and go out for Taco Bell for dinner. I don't think Taco Bell has ever sounded better. I love that I got out of cooking dinner tonight ;-) I need a break after today, and apparently, so does Luke!

So now the gross day is going to turn into a fun night :-) The only thing that would make the night better is if this pain would stop burning in my stomach! I was awoken in the middle of the night from the pain, and it has come back in waves since Saturday. So maybe it wasn't the chicken! Whatever it is, I hope it goes away soon, because it's getting seriously annoying! Okay, enough complaining!

I really think that the bad part of the week is over after today!! I've got some fun things going on during the remainder of the week:

~The 5th grade is going to be at camp tomorrow-Friday. The librarian is a chaperone, so in the afternoons when I'm normally working with 5th grade, I get to play librarian for the rest of the week!

~I'm planning on buying a sweater or two from Old Navy. They're on sale this week, and I practically drool everytime I see the commercial.
I think this one is my favorite! Only $20! I love how the sleeves bubble out at the bottom

~I have Bible study tomorrow night!

~Working at the church library Thursday night again. Hmm, maybe I should become a librarian...I'll be spending hours in two different libraries this week :-)

~Hoping to go see Julie and Julia FINALLY with my mom sometime soon. It finally came to the local $4 theater.

~I'm having a fall cookie decorating day on Saturday. I'm devoting the whole day to it. I hope Luke is interested in decorating a few! I'm going to buy some supplies for the day later tonight while I'm out with Luke.~I can't wait to make these cute glitter pumpkins from Martha Stewart's website sometime soon!
And I think that's about it for now! Here's to hoping it stops raining sometime this week!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Welcoming October

Confession: I love scary movies. And every October I really get in the mood to watch them! Since It's almost October, and because I have nothing better to write about today, I thought I'd dedicate this post to horror movies!

My top 10 favorite scary movies of all time:
10. Jaws
9. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
8.What Lies Beneath
7. The Sixth Sense
6. Skeleton Key
5. Identity
4. The Others
3.Halloween
2. Saw (The first one)
1.Psycho (the original)

Top 10 most overrated scary movies (imo):
10. The Shining
9. The Omen
8. Dawn of the Dead
7. Scream
6. Pet Sematary
5. Cloverfield
4. Blair Witch Project
3. The Grudge
2. The Ring
1. The Exorcist - Too ridiculous to be scary. made me laugh.

Top 5 scariest movies I've ever seen...and will probably never watch again:
5. Hide and Seek - I actually had a panic attack during this movie
4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (GREAT story, but SOOO terrifying!)
3. The Amityville Horror
2. The Haunting in Connecticut
1. The Strangers...terrified me to the core
Top 10 scary movies that I've never seen, and want to watch soon:
10. The Wicker Man
9. Frankenstein
8. The Birds
7. Misery
6.Invasion of the Body Snatchers
5. When a Stranger Calls (the original)
4. The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
3. The Mothman Prophecies
2. Friday the 13th (the original)
1. Wait Until Dark (I love Audrey Hepburn!)

Okay, I think that's enough. I know most of you who are reading don't share my love of scary movies. I guess I like them because a little scare is fun to me, and it's something that Luke and I have in common! It's fun to watch them together :-) As long as I don't get too wrapped up in them, I don't think there's anything wrong with watching them. And I purposely stay away from the ones that I KNOW will terrify me (i.e. The Unborn, IT, Dead Silence...things that are supposed to be sweet and innocent that turn evil probably scare me more than anything else for some odd reason!)

So I'm sure Luke and I will be spending a lot of evenings next month cuddled up under a blanket watching scary movies together! I'll be the one hiding my eyes in a pillow!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Favorite Meal...Ruined

My weekend was ruined, and THIS was the cluprit:
Bourbon chicken and rice from Asain Chao at the food court.

I order this everytime I eat at this particular mall, and have always loved it. Sadly, I fear that I will never be able to eat it again. This brought on the most horrible stomach pains that lasted all day long.

They lasted while I at the movie theater with Mom and Julie to see "All About Steve." (Not a great movie, btw).

I was almost doubled-over in pain on our trip to Hobby Lobby after the movie.

I sat through a (short) wedding with the dull ache in my stomach the whole time.

I suffered through part of a reception as the pain got worse. Surprisingly, I was able to eat the delicious food there without any further pain/sickness.

I attended a girls' night at my cousin's house where we played 2 rounds of Apples to Apples. And laughed a lot. Still feeling kinda yucky at 11:00 when I left.

Watched the end of the Wolverine movie with Luke and his friend Michael while the pain slowly got a little better.

Went to church this morning, went out to eat at Hot Dog Shoppe (our new Sunday lunch tradition), and spent the afternoon with my aunt, cousin, grandma, and new cat Ellie, all with the mild pain still there. About 30 hours after I ate the chicken, I am now feeling basically back to normal, just in time to make a pizza and watch a movie with Luke in a little bit! I love Sunday night chilling :-)

So I have no idea what the deal was with that chicken. It didn't exactly make me nauseous or sick, I just had this strange pain in my stomach and the fear that I WAS going to get sick all through the day and night Saturday. Has this ever happened to anyone? I'm thinking the chicken was just bad or something.

I knew I should have skipped the chicken and ordered this amazing mushroom garlic pizza from Sbarro like Julie did...she let me try a garlicky mushroom and it was amazing. Next time, I'm getting that!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cinnamon and Pumpkin



I titled this post "Cinnamon and Pumpkin" because that is what my entire house smells like right now. Starbucks' pumpkin cream cheese muffins are worth making just because of the way they make your house smell! And trust me, they taste delicious too! Although I'm afraid I overdid it with the cream cheese!
Luke's a little picky, and I have a feeling he won't like these too much. So I might bring some over to my mom and dad's tomorrow. I have a feeling I made more than we will ever be able to finish!
I also threw some ready-to-bake cookies in the oven because I thought Luke and JC might be hungry when they return from recording LATE tonight. Too cute, too easy, and too delicious!

I've been up to some other things today too, besides just baking:

I watched my cats become friends under the bedroom door
I saw the first few trees that have started changing colors
I went out to dinner with Luke to Jalisco...my favorite part is always the free chips and salsa!
Luke ate the world's most giant burrito
I saw the most beautiful sky on the way home
And I wrote this entire post with one hand, because Ellie is sleeping in my left arm right now.

The guys won't be back for awhile, and it's already 11:00 (JC is staying here for the night since the guys are just waking up and heading straight back to the church in the morning to do more recording). So I guess it's just me, Gabby and Ellie for the rest of the evening. I think I'll either read some more of Breaking Dawn or watch DVRd episodes of Friends until I either fall asleep, or the guys get here. Whichever comes first!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busyness has Taken Over

I'm all about the random posts lately. Probably because life has become extra crazy this week, and I can't think straight enough to put together any other type of post.

*I'm resisting the urge to write a whole post about a comment that was made to me in the teacher's lounge today that made me so mad my blood was boiling and tears were welling up in my eyes. But I'm trying to think good thoughts, so that's all I'm going to say about it. The mind is a battlefield, you know, and we can choose our thoughts! That's what I'm learning in Bible Study :-)

*This weekend I'll be able to cross off another item on BOTH of my goal lists, because I'm fairly certain that I'll find time to finish Breaking Dawn, thus completing the whole Twilight Saga. I will MAKE time to finish, because it's so good, and I can't wait to finish.

*I love my crock pot. I was able to take a 90 minute nap after work. When I woke up, dinner was ready! Without the crock pot, it probably would have meant hot dogs or pizza since I took such a long nap!

* My farm is STILL suffering from my negligence. *Sigh* I can't believe I've even found time to sit down and blog. Apparently I only have time for extra long naps, but not Internet time! I just don't have time to sit there for 20 minutes repeatedly clicking on little squares to plow and plant my farm. I have 14 Farmville gift requests as well. So if any of my "neighbors" are reading this, I apologize, and I probably owe you all about 3 or 4 gifts!!

*After the boringness of last weekend, this weekend is going to be awesomely busy! Tomorrow night Luke and I are going out to dinner at Jaliscos...I've been craving Mexican for SUCH a long time, so I'm really excited! Then I'm making my pumpkin cream cheese muffins later tomorrow night while Luke is recording with his band at the church. One of his friends from the band is sleeping on our futon, because they are going right back to the church in the morning to finish recording. So while Luke is there on Saturday, I'm going to spend the day with Mom and Julie, because Julie is coming home from college for the weekend! Then Luke and I have a wedding Saturday night, as I mentioned yesterday, and after that, I MAY be able to catch the tail end of a girls night with some of the ladies from my church. Then Sunday is church and softball games, and HOPEFULLY some relaxation after a busy weekend! I'm liking this whole, new being busy thing, though. I'd rather be busy than bored :-)

*We started the inventory of our church library tonight. We worked for about two hours, and got a pretty good start on things. But, I didn't quite get home in time for Grey's Anatomy, so I'm watching right now (DVR'd) as I type. Yeah, I can mulit-task ;-) I'm dying to figure out how the plot is all going to come together, and whether the show will be worth watching again this season. It certainly has regressed since seasons 1 and 2 in my opinion!

*Yesterday I took the cutest. picture. ever.

*Before I sign off, here are a few new things I got for FREE for my house. Thanks to my mom :-)

I thought these were adorable for fall:
My parents are re-doing their house. They bought this for their bathroom, but then found one they liked more. It matches my living room perfectly, so Mom gave it to me :-)

Enjoy your weekend! :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some Updates

*With a new kitten in the house and an increasingly busy schedule, I have barely had time to be on the computer at all. I haven't had time to read many blogs and I completely let my farm go!! (Any other Farmvillers out there??) Trying to keep blogging most days though, b/c I know if I stop for awhile, I might fall completely off the blogging wagon! And I've blogged almost every day since December, so I don't want that to happen :-) It is nice to be busy again, though. I feel productive, and like I'm DOING something. I got sick of feeling so lazy during the summer. Having a set schedule REALLY helps me to stay motivated and organized.

*I've got an annoying stomachache today and am not feeling too well! I'm using it as an excuse to lie down and catch up on all the shows I've missed in the past week or two (The Biggest Loser, Project Runway, and America's Next Top Model later tonight). I still plan on going to Bible study later, though. It's our first night of really digging into the book, and I'm excited :-)

*In the afternoons I help teach a 5th grade English class. We are reading "Rudy" aloud to the kids. Today I had to read because the regular teacher was on the phone with the principal. The page I started reading just happened to be a very tragic, unexpected part that I didn't know about!! I've never seen the movie or read the book. So I stood there reading the rest of the chapter to the kids, trying to hold the tears back :-P If you've read it or seen it, you probably know what part I'm talking about. It's such a good book, and I can't wait to find out what happens next!

* Luke and I are going to have a busy weekend...he's recording with the band all weekend, and then we have a wedding to go to on Saturday night. So we're going to squeeze in a little dinner date on Friday night. I've been begging to go to Jalisco's for a really long time...I love Mexican! I finally bugged him enough that he agreed to it Friday night ;-) Mmmm, I can't wait!

*I held Ellie near Gabby today, and Gabby didn't hiss! This is the first time that has happened, so I think we're slowly making progress! She's still pretty mad at Luke and I for allowing an intruder to encroach upon her territory, though! But she's slowly turning back to her old self.

*The baking itch has struck again. I think it's because it's fall. While Luke's recording Saturday morning/afternoon, I plan on baking some pumpkin cream cheese muffins, like the ones from Starbucks. I found a recipe for them here. I may pick up a few more apples that morning too, b/c we can't seem to get enough of them! They're delicious with caramel dip :-)

And I think those are all the interesting/random things that are going on in the Wallace household these days :-) I hope your week is going great!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Cuteness

Last night I left my sink full of dishes and didn't have time to do much because I was so busy taking care of Ellie and setting up a place for her to live. And she was all I could think about today at work...I was worried that she wouldn't be okay all alone all day. She's like my new baby :-P

I thought she deserved one more post in honor of her cuteness :-)
video

Here's the very first video I've ever posted on the Internet, just thought you might want to see the cuteness in action. She was very playful when I got home from work, and this kept her busy for a good 10 or 15 minutes :-)

And onto some pictures:

This is her little "home" for now. At least while we're sleeping. She slept in there right by our bed, and didn't make a single peep all night. She's so well-behaved!
Playing with Luke's fingers
Under the futon
And here is our first picture taken together last night at my parents' house.
She fell asleep on my dad's (the cat-hater's) lap. I don't even think my dad could find it in him to hate Ellie. But Gabby? that's another story ;-)
I'm feeling really bad about Gabby b/c she's so jealous! But they'll get used to each other in time. Ellie is currently curled up on my lap, purring away :-) I'm starting to think this impulse decision was a good one :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Meet Ellie!

It's official...Ellie is the newest member of our little family :-)
I know, I know...the cuteness is almost too much to handle! She's SUCH a sweetheart. I love Gabby and her fun, spunky (CRAZY) personality, but Ellie is really the exact opposite. She's really cuddly, and is totally laid back. She has just been laying around and sleeping in our arms all evening.

Gabby has been a little bit on edge. She did hiss once, and is not acting like herself. But other than that, she's been okay. I told her that she's the mean one, so she will be the first to go if we have problems, and then she straightened up :-P (And yes, I really told her that. Just ask Luke).

I'm so excited to have another one. And I promised Luke that this is our last pet until we move again.

I really don't think he minds her, though ;-)

(I'm secretly praying that Gabby and Ellie get along someday! I'm really stressed out about it, and I feel kind of guilty for making an impulse decision to bring Ellie home tonight. And it was an impulse decision, because we were a little bit on the fence about it until I saw her tonight and just couldn't NOT take her. I'm sure it will work out once they get used to each other...I hope!!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In the Mood to Bake


I have never been artsy or crafty. I have a lot of fun trying, but being creative is not something that comes naturally to me.

In high school, my favorite class (besides English, of course) was chemistry. I LOVED it! I loved doing conversions, learning about all the elements, and balancing equations. Why? Because EVERYTHING in chemistry has an exact method or formula to follow. Unlike art and creativity, I was GOOD at it.

So this is why I think I love to bake. I've always been told that cooking is an art, while baking is a science. I have a lot more trouble cooking than I do baking, because I lack to ability to improvise. If something doesn't look/taste right, I have NO IDEA what to do to fix it, and I'm too scared to try! While I'm getting better at it as I go, it doesn't naturally come easy to me.

Baking on the other hand, is my forte. I NEED a map to guide me when I'm in the kitchen. I like to follow recipes letter by letter. And that is why I like to bake. Every once in awhile, I get in the mood to bake until I can't bake anymore. The mood hit last night. At 10:00.

Luke was at a football game, and all of a sudden, I just HAD to bake something. I had a bunch of apples, so I decided to bake apple crisp.It turned out pretty well! (Although I think I left in the oven just a tad bit too long). You can find a recipe similar to the one I used HERE. I think apple crisp is the perfect fall treat. The only thing better would be apple dumplings. I haven't been brave enough to try these yet, but maybe in the next few weeks :-)

This morning I baked some cinnamon rolls. Umm, they were Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. So I guess I can't take credit for them, but they were delicious! And the house is still filled with the smell, four hours later. I'm trying to make cinnamon rolls a Saturday morning breakfast tradition, at least a couple Saturdays a month. Maybe someday I will learn to bake them from scratch :-)

And later I plan on baking some chocolate chip cookies. We're going to end up with more food than we can handle here. That's why I'm glad my grandma lives right downstairs :-) I'll just bring some down to her.

Finally, I can't wait to try out the fall cookie cutters I shared about the other day. I want to go all out. Last night I found this great tutorial about how to decorate sugar cookies with Royal Icing. So in a few Saturdays, I think I'm going to turn my kitchen into a bakery and make whole day of it :-) I'm going to have to go shopping for some supplies, and probably move the big table into the kitchen so I have a bigger work area (I have zero counter space in my kitchen pretty much). I think it will be fun! Maybe I can get Luke to get in on the action too :-)

Well I'm going to get back to watching the Ohio State game with Luke. They are winning 14-0 at the end of the first quarter! When i'm done with this, I'm planning on working on knitting my scarf for the rest of the game.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Carrots!


When I was little, my mom recorded all 37 hours of "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel" on 4 VHS tapes (Okay, so I think it was more like 6 or 7 hours). I have a lot of childhood memories of being completely engrossed in those movies. I probably watched them 20 times through the years. Snow days were the best, because there was nowhere to go, so we'd just snuggle up under a blanket and watch hour after hour of these movies. And I have memories of acting them out with my sister and cousins. Rachel and I actually went as Anne and Diana for Halloween one year! I was Diana and she was Anne...which is probably pretty fitting for our personalities. I should really dig up those pictures sometime! I had a huge black wig on and Rachel had her hair in pigtail braids and freckles drawn all over her face. Anyway, I digress.

I loved those movies from the beginning to the end. From the time Anne met Diana and the time she broke a slate over Gilbert's head for calling her "Carrots," all the way up until Anne became a teacher at a girl's school. I always hoped that she would end up with Gilbert in the end. Oh, and my very favorite part is when Anne accidentally gets Diana drunk on raspberry cordial! So funny, even though I would always end up crying right after that part when Anne is forbidden to see Diana. I still get completely wrapped up in the whole story :-)

As I got older, I decided I wanted to read the books. I read the first one, and an L.M. Montgomery Christmas collection book, but that's all the further I got. I hope to read the rest of them sometime, though! I want to know how the real story goes :-)

So why am I writing about this today? For some reason, the movie has been on my mind lately and I'm just DYING to watch it again. I think I still have the VHS tapes, but alas, I no longer own a VCR. Stupid technology. I'm going to research tonight and see if I can find them on DVD. I know it's silly to be thinking about these things now, but I really want to be able to watch them with my kids someday! Also, I can't wait to read the books with them :-) Let's hope I have a girl or two!

And I also posted this in case you have never seen this movie. If not, it's the sweetest movie ever, and you should watch it! I just found it on youtube! :-) Although I still think I will try to buy the movies so I'll have them forever :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feeling Festive

Have I mentioned that I'm excited about fall? I think I may have expressed that once or twice or twenty times :-) The one thing that gets me more excited about the new season than anything else, is probably going to the grocery store. I love all the fun fall foods that are out right now!

Today I limited my extra purchases to just a few. First of all, as soon as I saw this caramel apple dip, I knew I couldn't pass it up:
I sliced a couple apples and Luke and I ate them with this amazing dip after a long day at work. It was delicious!

And I couldn't pass these up. I know it's early, but I couldn't resist. They are a tradition at our house (okay, so this is only our second year together, but I 'made' them last year too! Isn't that how traditions start?) I just love these Halloween sugar cookies :-)
Last year I think I made them for the Saw marathon that we had at our house. Kind of funny that I made something so cute and innocent to be eaten during probably the most twisted set of movies ever. (I really hate how gory those movies are, but I just can't resist watching them for the crazy, unexpected plot twists! I usually end up with my eyes closed during most of the movies, and I almost had to run to the bathroom at the end of the second movie because it was so gross I thought I was going to be sick. Does anyone else watch these, or am I the only twisted person out there that thinks they're entertaining??)

And I bought this on Saturday, but I just wanted to share it again. It's probably the best tea ever. It's like Red Hots candy in liquid form. But not as hot. SOO good!!

I don't know if I've ever written about my obsession with cookie cutters. We had a drawer in our kitchen that was supposed to be a "junk drawers." However, I think it's safe to just call it a cookie cutter drawer now, because there's nothing else in it, and it barely shuts.

For my birthday last year, my mother-in-law got me these fall cookie cutters. I didn't get a chance to use them yet, because we were so busy with the move all the way up until Thanksgiving last year. But I can't wait to bake some fall cookies and decorate them sometime soon! Are they NOT the cutest cookie cutters ever made?? I especially like the squirrel and the acorn :-)
And that's not all. I also have a bunch of cheap Halloween cookie cutters that I bought at Wal Mart the day I found out that we had to be out of our apartment in a week. So needless to say, that's the exact day that life became crazy and I haven't been able to use them yet, either.
I THINK the middle one on the bottom row is a moon. But the one in the bottom right corner...can anyone help me identify it?? I'm thinking it's a witch on a broomstick, but I'm not sure. (If that's the case, I think it's upside-down in this picture). I literally stood there for 2 minutes before I took this picture, turning it in all different directions to try to figure it oute. Hmm, I can also see a ghost wearing an inner tube if I turn it the other way around ;-) ...Maybe I'll just have to toss that one!

Edit: After reading this post again, I realized that it's a witch's face...it's really obvious now. She's wearing a hat, and she has a long, pointy chin. I might throw it out anyway...I think the other ones are just a lot cuter! To this day, I just really don't like witches. Even the cute kind. Witchcraft is a real thing, and it freaks. me. out.

So what fun things are you doing to celebrate this season? Some of you may be sick of my fall posts. To you I say, just WAIT until Christmastime. This is nothin' compared to that;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bible Study & My List

Tonight I did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time: I joined a women's Bible study at church. Our church has lots of Bible Studies offered on Wednesday nights during our Kid's Bible Club for grades k-5 and middle school youth group. Last year, I helped teach the pre-school KBC class, and for a long time before that, I helped with middle school youth group. This year, I decided that I really wanted to join a Bible study instead on Wednesday nights. I had a speech all ready and prepared to turn down whoever was going to ask me to help with KBC again, and I was actually nervous about it. Well in the end, no one asked me to help out with anything! So I'm taking that as a sign that this Bible study is where God wants me to spend my Wednesday nights :-)

I decided to join a Bible study led by Rachel (my neighbor/cousin/one of my best friends. I write about her a lot :-)). She is leading a study on the Joyce Meyer book: "Battlefield of the Mind." I really think this is going to be such a great study for where I am in my life right now. This is because I am a WORRIER. I worry about things that people REALLY just shouldn't worry about. I worry about work. I worry about whether people at work like me. I worry about whether my students are learning anything from me. I worry about what I will be doing next school year, even though this one just started. I worry about making Luke happy. I worry about spending way too much time on the internet. I worry that I'm getting fat. I worry that God can't use me because I'm too shy. I worry about money. I worry about what I wear and what I look like. I worry that my hair is too frizzy. I worry that I won't be able to have children although we are years away from trying. I worry about my sister and about my parents. Do you get the picture? My mind IS a battlefield that I am constantly struggling with. It's actually exhausting.

I had never really thought about the fact that I can really CONTROL my mind. I don' thave to think those thoughts. I can fill my mind with good things so that Satan doesn't have room to fill it with worries and self-doubts. That would be so much less depressing and less exhausting!! :-)

The really awesome thing about tonight was that I learned that I am SOOO not alone in this. Isn't that refreshing?? It was for me :-)

So anyway, this study will last until December, and I'm super pumped to get started reading the book! I think I'll start after I get done watching ANTM :-)
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On a side note, I get to cross one more thing off of my 101 things in 1001 days list: "Find a Bible study to attend regularly."

When I went to edit that post so that I could turn that into a completed item, I read through my list again just to keep it fresh in my mind. Turns out I've finished a few that I forgot were on the list! So I haven't even been doing this challenge for a month yet, and here are all the things I've finished:

- "Volunteer in the church library." A few weeks ago I turned myself in as a volunteer for the "library committee." (I gave it that name just now :-P) There are only 4 or 5 of us on the "committee", but I'm pretty pumped about it! We are getting ready to build onto our church, and the library will be in a whole new location. The committee was put together to take an inventory of the books and help with some of the logistical decisions facing the new library location. Also, I volunteered to write up a monthly paragraph to put in our church newsletter about the library and whatever good or new books are worth telling about :-) We are going to start the inventory in the next week or two, and I'm pretty excited!! I hate to admit this, but sometimes I have a really bad attitude helping with the children at church. Everyone asks me because they know I'm a teacher, but honestly, 35 hours a week with hundreds of little kids makes it so hard to volunteer with the kids at church too, and have a good attitude and willing heart about it. I'm so glad I found a behind-the-scenes area to serve that I have a good attitude about. Plus I love reading, so what could be better? (Wow, I didn't mean to write that much!)

- "Find a Bible study to attend regularly."

- "Set up a regular prayer/devotional time and place. Stick to it!" This one was accomplished as soon as school started. I normally have between 15 and 20 extra minutes every morning before I go to work. I do my devotions during that time in the living room. It's such a great way to start my day! During this time I read a chapter or two of the Bible, and some of whatever devotional book I happen to be reading at the time. I'm also working on my goal to read through the entire Bible at this time. I've read through the New Testament numerous times, but decided that it's about time I tackled the OT. I'm halfway through Exodus right now, and am REALLY enjoying reading the story of Moses. It's so awesome to read about all the old Bible stories, and see how the same principles that were taught then can still apply today (Other than all the legalistic stuff. But that's still interesting to learn about, too!)

- "Invent a recipe." this was accomplished this past Saturday with my spicy cheese dip.

- "Learn to knit." Also accomplished Saturday when my cousin taught me during the game. I'm working on a pink scarf right now. I only have about 8 rows finished, and it's full of holes and mistakes, but you've gotta start somewhere, right??

- "Buy a new (to me) car." Still lovin' it!

- "Host a Party." This was also accomplished on Saturday. I should have probably made that goal "Host 20 parties" or something, because we have a lot of parties at our house! Especially during football season. Because Luke just can't help inviting a bunch of people over to share in the joy of victory or the agony of defeat :-P

And I think that's it for now. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I become everytime I get to cross off an item on that list! It would be really awesome to complete all of them! (Although I already messed one up..."Eat at the table once a week for the duration of the 1.001 days." I knew I was bound for failure on that one. But I'm not giving up...I'm still going to try to eat at the table as much as we can! I've only failed one week out of four, so that's not too bad! If I can eat at least one meal per week there 75% of the time, it will still be an improvement!)

Have a happy Wednesday! I'm sure I will be writing more about this awesome Joyce Meyer book as the weeks of Bible study go on :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pizza and a Movie

I have a feeling that tonight's going to be a really good night (Hey, I kinda sound like Black-Eyed Peas!)

Luke and I sold my car yesterday! It's bittersweet, but it's okay, because I love my new car!!

I got a text from Luke yesterday while I was at work telling me that if there's a package in the mail, go ahead and open it because it's for me. But he wouldn't tell me what it was! I was going crazy by the time school finally let out and I was finally able to stop at the post office. Imagine my surprise when I received a box with THIS inside:
Not only is it an ipod, but it's a PINK ipod!! What could be more perfect? It was so awesome, because I was totally not expecting it at all. Luke's good at surprises like that ;-) The new car has no CD player, but has an ipod port instead. My old mp3 player wasn't compatible with it, so Luke used some extra money he had in paypal, and bought it for me! It pretty much made my day :-)

Tonight feels like it warrants a celebration for selling the car so quickly! (It's been on the market for about 2 weeks. The only place we advertised was on Craigslist, and we had the car sitting out in the parking lot of our church, plastered with "For Sale" signs. So I thought we did pretty good :-)) So I decided that tonight is Pizza-and-a-Movie night :-) I'm trying my hand at making a pizza/pizza dough from scratch for the very first time EVER! I often buy pre-made crust at the grocery store and make a pizza that way, and that tastes almost as good as homemade. But I thought I'd go the whole 9 yards this time :-)
After pizza, Luke and I are going to pop in a movie! Yesterday I rented "Passengers" at Family Video. I don't remember hearing of it before, but it was literally the ONLY movie in the New Releases section that looked like something both Luke and I would enjoy, and that we hadn't seen yet. (I think we may have a small addiction to renting movies :-P) It's a thriller, and I just watched the trailer...it looks really good! So I'm looking forward to a fun night tonight. I love staying in and enjoying just being here together!

So once again, all feels right with the world :-) Two times in one week, that's not bad!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

God's Plan

Tonight I've been thinking a lot about God's plan for our lives. Sometimes it is SO DIFFICULT to wait on God's timing, and to understand His plan during hard times. But I know that in the times that I've trusted, even when I didn't understand the situation or why God was putting me through it, everything turned out so much better than I imagined in the end!

Let's take college for example. When I was a senior in hs, I wasn't sure about college. My best friend at the time was planning on attending Ohio State. I was leaning that way, too. A big college so far away from home sounded like so much fun! Until one day my mom made me go to "Discovery Days" at Malone College (now Malone University). Malone is a little Christian college about 45 minutes away from my house. I didn't know anyone from my class that was going there. I wasn't totally opposed to the school, but was definitely leaning more toward somewhere bigger like Ohio State. But the day I visited, I fell in love with Malone. I loved the Christian atmosphere and the fact that everyone knows everyone else there. I loved that it was close enough to home that I could come home on the weekends.
Here's a picture of one of many fun memories from Malone. (I'm the one in the pink;-))
I now know that it was God's plan all along for me to attend there. I can't even imagine my life now if I had gone to Ohio State. I would not be the person I am today, and I probably wouldn't be married to Luke!

Speaking of that, I know that Luke was a total God-thing, too! It was my freshman year of college and I was getting pretty serious with a guy from home. We had been dating about a year, and things were going okay. I certainly wasn't "in love." One day at Malone, my New Testament professor was talking about life in general and said, "Never settle for less than God's best in your life." Right when he said that, my heart started pounding and I knew God was speaking to me. I knew that the guy I was dating was not the man that God had planned for me. It was hard, but we eventually ended the relationship. Can you believe that 5 days later, I started getting a little crush on Luke? A few months after that, we started dating, and the rest is history. God certainly blessed me for not settling!Hmm...if I had been at Ohio State, I probably never would have noticed Luke in that way. And I wouldn't have been sitting in that New Testament class at Malone when I was deeply convicted by the words of my professor.

Now when Luke and I were engaged, we weren't exactly sure where we were going to live. We wanted to buy, but didn't know if that would be possible. We heard about this awesome opportunity from my uncle. He owned a house that contained 3 apartments in our town, and was thinking about selling. We researched it a lot and really thought and prayed about it, but the whole situation didn't seem to be leading anywhere. It was March, the wedding was in July, and we still didn't have any solid plans made about the house. I was on spring break of my senior year, student teaching semester, when God showed us where he wanted us to go. During that spring break week, I heard about two great apartments right in our town that were priced unbelievably well. I called the owner of the first one on a whim, Luke and I went to look at the apartment later that night, and the next afternoon we signed the lease.
This apartment was so perfect for us! 2 bedrooms, newly re-done, HUGE living room, backyard, garage, utility room for a washer and dryer, a cute little porch, a beautiful bathroom with SO much storage, central a/c, plenty of closet space, a dining room, etc. Wow, I miss that place sometimes! The house was a bit of a downgrade in some departments. We lived there for the first 4 months of our marriage (although Luke lived there for about 8 months) and it was such a completely perfect time in our lives. I loved it! I'm so glad we decided to rent at first, simply because of the sweet memories we made in our first home :-)

But God had other plans for us again. A few months after the wedding, we heard that my uncle, who owned the house we had thought about buying before the wedding, was moving with his family to Virginia. He needed to sell the house quickly. There's more to it, though. My grandma had been living with my Aunt and Uncle for the past 11 years in an apartment connected to their house, and obviously didn't want to move all the way to Virginia. There just happened to be a little apartment in the house my uncle was selling...one that would be perfect for my grandma. So voila...the offer was too good to pass up, and after four months of marriage, we were on the move again. To our own house this time. The house is a blessing to us because it provides part of our income with the rent from the other two apartments, but it is also a blessing to my grandma, because she didn't have to move far away from home, or into a nursing home. Apparently, we just had to trust God and wait on His timing. Because when we did that, everything worked out perfectly! I don't know why God's plan was to have us wait a few months before buying the house we had wanted in the first place, but I bet it has something to do with the timing with Grandma. Everything just worked out completely perfectly :-)And one final area I would like to write about is my job. This is my third year at the same school district. The first two years, I was working in a classroom with a somewhat crazy woman (I can't think of a nicer way to say it :-P) in a position that I really did not enjoy. If you've been reading my posts for awhile, you know that I wasn't planning on going back to the same school this year until the last minute. I know that was God's plan as well.

The past two years when I was in the miserable position, I had a little girl that I worked a lot with. She had such a sad life. She certainly wasn't a sweet little girl who was real easy to love, but I felt God calling me especially to her. I always tried to make sure I brightened her day and was there for her when she needed it. I know she was not getting the love and support that she needed. I have since learned that her parents were both arrested over the summer for growing marijuana in their basement. The little girl and her 4 siblings were put into foster homes. It's a sad situation, but I know that they're probably better off where they are now.

All this to say, all the years that this little girl was in our school district, I was with her. This year when she is going to a different school district, I am moved into a completely different part of the building in a completely different position. I don't think that's a coincidence. I think God just doesn't need me in that classroom anymore, and he's put me in a different place this year. Have you ever felt that way? Just so called toward one specific person to be a prayer warrior for them or to reach out to them? I really feel that this little girl is the main reason that God had me in that position.

Now that I'm in a different position, God has been blessing me so much! This year I LOVE my job. Mostly because I have my own classroom and am working with teachers that I just "click" with better. So all that to say, God has a reason for putting us where we are. And we will be blessed through the situation in the end!

Okay, that was a REALLY long post. But it's just really been on my mind tonight. In each of these situations, I had to sacrifice something (a college, a boy, a house, an apartment, and a different job) in order to take the paths that I chose and that I felt God leading me on. And in each of those situations, God blessed me so immensely, and I had some of the best times of my life. So if you're in a tough or confusing situation, just step out in faith if you feel God calling you. It will always be worth it, and you will always be blessed (although it might be hard at first!)

I will have to keep this in mind as I face the next few years, deciding exactly what path to take with my life.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13